City & Business: A Model-T upbringing

DOWN through the years there has been considerable controversy about the origins of Harrods owner Mohamed al Fayed. In 1985, at the time Mr Fayed became a public figure by outmanoeuvring Lonrho chief "Tiny" Rowland in his bid for the most famous department store in the world, many in the media reported that he was of aristocratic Egyptian stock - a scion of landowners exporting cotton to the Lancashire mills.

In its 1989 report on the battle for Harrods, the Department of Trade and Industry offered a different set of facts. The DTI found that Mr Fayed grew up, not with an English nanny at his elbow, but in an inner-city neighbourhood of Alexandria, the son of a local schoolteacher. The DTI said he launched his career, not on the back of family wealth, but working for the arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi.

We can now reveal that both versions of Mr Fayed's childhood are wrong. When last year Vickers announced it was putting its Rolls Royce luxury car division up for sale, we began sniffing around for potential buyers. Our investigation led to a barn in on the border between Michigan and Canada where we uncovered a cache of documents proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that Mr Fayed grew up, not in Eygpt, but in a blue-collar neighbourhood of Detroit, Michigan.

Mr Fayed, documents unequivocally show, was raised the son of a fitter on the General Motors assembly line making Cadillacs. He was an adopted child. Mr Fayed's natural father was Edsel Ford.

This new information will be reported in full in due course, but we felt it our public duty to lay to rest any doubts about the seriousness of Mr Fayed's bid for the Rolls Royce luxury car group.

So-called experts have made light of Mr Fayed's interest in the company. Nay-sayers have pointed out that capital beyond the means of even the richest individual entrepreneur is needed to support the technology base of a modern auto company.

But serious miscalculations are being made. Mr Fayed is an auto man to his finger tips. Beyond that, he is close to the Ford family. It is all but a foregone conclusion that the Harrods owner will soon expand his empire, outbidding Daimler-Benz, BMW and Volkswagen - and in the process ensuring that the ownership of Rolls Royce stays happily on these shores.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most